“Stop running from shadows,
chasing shadows, and casting shadows.
Come before the sacred light of the heart,
and all shadows will be vanquished.”
RUNNING FROM SHADOWS
Over-indulgence and addiction arise when we begin to run from the shadows that have formed in our sub-conscious mind. These are sometimes referred to as inner demons. No matter how you conceptualize this, we all have something hidden inside that we rather flee than face.
You may have noticed, unless you’re an ostrich, that the world is filled with injustice. Sooner or later this injustice comes to the shore of our own heart and we are deeply injured by it. This happens to us in our innocence, when we are children. This is in itself an injustice and it’s not fair. We didn’t do anything as children to deserve these injustices that are heaped upon us. These events in our outer world are abundant and overwhelming. We simply don’t have the time or the capacity in our youth to process it all. So graciously our minds have a sub-conscious storage locker. The darkness emerging from our righteous rejection of what is unfair and hurtful is left for the future when we have enough awareness and maturity to face it.
The problem is that when we “grow up” we are too consumed with the dance of survival and the pursuit of happiness to the take time to look within and see the source of our agitation. And plus we are literally afraid of our own shadows! So we run to escape them. Thus 12 step movements are flooded with attendees. Alcohol, drugs, food, sex, romance, work, shopping, and gambling are amongst the myriad of escape routes we devise to get away from the monsters within.
When I was younger for me, it was drugs, alcohol, violence, sex, and rock n roll. When I realized the path I was on was plainly going to kill me, I started running up a different trail. No not the expression, I literally started running up and down any trail I could find! More than that I ran, I biked, I swam! I pushed weights, and my favorite I practiced Kung Fu! These got me more respect than my former indulgences. But now I was trying to “exercise” my demons. My spelling was a bit off. We need to exorcise our demons not exercise them! Lol!
I first tried running from them, but couldn’t get away. I added bicycling but “they” still pursued me. I entered freezing cold waters to swim but my demons were a thousand times colder than the ocean. I tries to triathlon them away but at the top of every ridge I looked back to find them hot on my heels? Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid I started asking “Who are those guys?”
I tried pushing them away by lifting my own body weight, but with every thrust away they pressed back down upon me.
Then there was the arena of Kung Fu where I could do battle with them directly. I sparred with such passion because whether my opponent was invisible, only one, or many it was always the shadows within me I was trying to defeat. Then My Kung Fu teacher exposed the central issue “Your greatest opponent is yourself!” he said for the ten thousandth time, only this time I heard him. I stopped. I looked back down the trail and startled the evil pack that had set me on this mad frantic marathon dedicated to escaping from myself. I could tell they weren’t used to someone looking them in the eye. For the first time in my life I realized there was a “light” living in my heart that struck fear in theirs!
Love and Light, Si Gong